Quota benefits only if recognised by state:SC

A caste or sub-caste seeking quota benefits under the OBCs category can enjoy the benefit only if it is recognised by the state government concerned.

New Delhi: A caste or sub-caste seeking quota
benefits under the OBCs category can enjoy the benefit only if
it is recognised by the state government concerned, and mere
similarity of names does not automatically entitle a person to
the benefits in another state, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chalameshwar said
similarities of names between main caste and sub-caste also
does not grant a person the benefit unless it is officially
recognised by the state for granting the quota benefits.

The apex court passed the ruling while dismissing the
appeal filed by Bharati Balkrishna Dhongade, a Mumbai civic
corporator whose 2007 election was challenged by her rival
Safia Parveen Abdul Munaf, on the ground that she had
contested the election on an OBC ticket though she belonged to
the "Namdeo Shimpi" which was not recognised.

After the Caste Scrutiny Committee and the Bombay High
Court held that Dhongade did not belong to OBC as "Namdeo
Shimpi" was not recognised by the state of Maharashtra, she
appealed in the apex court.

She argued that "Namdeo Shimpi" was a sub-caste of the
main caste "Shimpi" which was an OBC and submitted that the
former was also a recognised as an OBC in the neighbouring
state of Karnataka.

"We are satisfied that before arriving at such conclusion
they considered the entire material on record including the
distinction between the list of OBCs in the state of Karnataka
as against the list of OBCs in state of Maharashtra and
recorded a finding that the appellant who belongs to `Namdeo
Shimpi` caste does not belong to OBC of `Shimpi` caste in

"When it is not so expressly or specifically included in
the government resolution/order along with the main caste, in
such case, even if it is synonymous to the one mentioned in
the order, it is not permissible to avail such benefit of
reservation," Justice Sathasivam writing the judgement said. Citing a number of its earlier judgements, the apex court
said, "It is well known that a caste may fall under the
category of OBCs in one state, but the said caste may not be
classified as OBC in other state."

Further, the bench said, Dhongade had also not led any
specific evidence to discharge the burden of proof on her
under Section 8 of the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled
Tribes, De-notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes,
Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category Caste
Certificate Act, 2001 to prove her OBC status.

"In as much as the burden of proof under Section 8 of the
said Act being on the person who claims to belong to that
caste, tribe, or class, in view of the factual conclusion by
the Committee based on relevant acceptable material and the
decision of the division bench, we are unable to accept the
claim of the appellant.

"On the other hand, we are satisfied that the committee
and the division bench of the high court have considered the
entire material in the light of the decisions of this court
and came to a finding of fact that the appellant does not
belong to caste `Shimpi` (OBC) and belongs to `Namdeo Shimpi`
caste which is not OBC in the state of Maharashtra," the apex
court added.



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